Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Salsa Chicken

I've seen lots of recipes similar to this one. The first place I saw it was on my friend's blog, but I couldn't just make it how it was, I had to do my own thing with it. The first thing that I do different is leave my chicken frozen. I rarely remember to thaw my chicken ahead of time for anything, and it has seemed to work just fine for this recipe to not thaw it. I also add a can of refried beans to it. Leaving the chicken frozen adds a bit of extra water to the mixture at the end and the beans do two things for me, they get rid of the extra moisture and they add a little extra vegetables and fiber to the dinner (shhhh....don't tell our kids!). This recipe is really fast and easy, it's a go to recipe for Mexican night at our house.

Salsa Chicken

6 frozen chicken breast tenders (I use the frozen ones from Costco)
1 jar salsa (I use medium Pace Picante Sauce)
1 can refried beans (I usually use Rosarita no-fat traditional for this recipe)

Place frozen chicken in the slow cooker (I'm sure it would work just fine to have the chicken thawed as well). Pour the jar of salsa over the top. Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours.

Half an hour before you're ready to eat, remove chicken from the cooker, shred it and return to the cooker. Add the can of beans, replace lid and let cook for about a half an hour. 

Serve in tortillas or taco shells with your choice of toppings. Sour cream, guacamole, olives, lettuce, tomato, and more salsa all work really well.

This makes enough for our family of 4 to have it a couple of times. It also freezes really well after it's cooked, so you can save it for another night when you don't want to cook or don't have the time to cook.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Super Fast Pasta Bake

I love to find quick and easy dinner ideas and this is one of my very favorites! I love that it's super fast and simple. I love that I can change up the way it tastes by varying a couple of the ingredients. I love that it's cheesy (who doesn't love that!). I also love that you can make it smaller, I always half this recipe and it turns out great! Most of all, I love that everyone in our family will eat this with no complaints. I found this recipe at Real Mom Kitchen, it's one of my very favorite blogs, and if you haven't already checked it out, you should because it's amazing! I hope that you all have an amazing Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Super Fast Pasta Bake
Real Mom Kitchen

8 oz elbow macaroni or other small shaped pasta, uncooked
4 1/2 cups spaghetti/marinara sauce (1 jar)
1 cup water
1 can petite diced tomatoes (this is where it's fun! I usually use either Italian or a garlic/onion can)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or use an Italian blend)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place marinara, tomatoes, and water in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Stir in the uncooked pasta. Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes to an hour, you're looking for your pasta to be tender here. Top with the cheese and bake for a few more minutes uncovered, just until the cheese is melted.

Another thing I like to do with this recipe is throw in some frozen meatballs (I like the ones from Costco). I'd probably use 12-16 if I was making the full recipe and you don't need to do anything special to it.

How I half this recipe:

1 cup macaroni
1/2 bottle marinara
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water

Put recipe together the same way as for a full recipe, but bake in an 8x8 baking dish instead. You could also put the whole recipe together, separate into two 8x8 pans and freeze one before baking. Then you'd want to thaw the frozen one for about 24 hours, and bake for probably around an hour and a half at 350 degrees. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Red and White Mostaccioli

One of my very favorite shows to watch on TV is the Food Nanny. Liz Edmunds is the Food Nanny and she travels around to families and helps them to make having dinner as a family work for them. She's got a meal planning system, a cookbook and a TV show. I was able to meet her last weekend and she was so sweet and energetic! Today's easy dinner recipe comes from her cookbook. This is one of our family's very favorite meals. I usually serve it with breadsticks, and a vegetable or salad. This recipe can also be halved very easily to make it work for smaller families.

Red and White Mostaccioli

1 pound uncooked mostaccioli or other ridged tubular pasta
Alfredo Sauce (I use this recipe, but you can also use the kind from the store, or your own recipe!)
1 (26 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Cook your pasta, just follow the directions on the package and drain it. As you're cooking your pasta, you can make your Alfredo sauce. When pasta and Alfredo sauce are cooked, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking spray. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 13 inch pan. We're going to do some layering here, first put in half the pasta, then half the Alfredo sauce, then half the spaghetti sauce. Top all of those with cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

For the month of November, I'm going to focus on some fairly simple dinner ideas that our family has enjoyed. I'm starting with Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches. This is another recipe from the girls at Our Best Bites. I made these sandwiches not all that long ago. They are super easy to put together and the members of our family that eat meat enjoyed them. I liked that they reheat well, I bet they would freeze really well too!

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches
from Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites page 222

2 tablespoons olice oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if needed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste if needed
3 pound beef roast, trim fat if needed
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (16 ounce) jar sliced pepperoncinis or banana peppers, undrained
Sliced provolone cheese
Mayo if desired
Sandwich rolls (I used Ciabattas)

In a high-sided skillet heat oil over high heat. Rub salt and pepper into the roast. Sear the meat in the oil on all sides, so that the meat is browned and crisp.

Place the meat in a slow cooker. Cover with the peppers and add the garlic. I used Marzetti Deli Sliced Banana Peppers.

If you have the time, cook on high until the liquid boils and then cook on low until the roast shreds easily with a fork, total of about 6-8 hours. Or cook on low for 8-10 hours, again until the roast shreds easily with a fork.

To assemble sandwiches, cut rolls in half, spread lightly with mayo if desired. We enjoyed our sandwiches without mayo. Top with a slice of provolone and place under your stoves broiler just until the cheese is melted, about 1-3 minutes.